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CameraCubes+Backpacks (Peak Design, or?)

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Steve-S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: CameraCubes+Backpacks (Peak Design, or?)
    Posted: 17 October 2022 at 20:50
(nb have edited the thread-title after info developed in-thread, thank you contributors!!!)

Hi folks...

My existing sling (an old Tamrac) has done yeoman duty for years, but
(a) I am outgrowing it (in terms of amount of gear I want to carry) &
(b) it's getting worn out
Also -- in terms of hiking/backpacking -- it was an either/or proposition. I could carry the Tamrac OR a "real" backpack. All-day hike -- food, water, warm layer, rainshell -- meant a serious compromise on what camera gear I could carry, how convenient it was to access, and how safely (padding, isolation from spills, etc). My need is to be able to safely carry up to:
- A77
- Tam200-500
- Tam180/3.5
- Sony135/1.8ZA
- Sony18-135
- Tam10-24

So, I'm shopping. The Peak Design system is at the top of my list at the moment. Getting "everything I want" looks very expensive, though!

Looking in particular at the 45L "Travel Pack" and/or the 65L "DuffelPack" (maybe even both, to be able to "rightsize" for specific outings (also air-travel: the 45L for carryon with camera-gear, the 65L for checked baggage with clothing, repacking as needed once deplaned)) + the "Camera Cubes" (again, looking at possibly getting all 3 sizes of 'cube, to be able to select the right package for the need.

I *think* the PD "Large" cube will take all my gear.

Anyone who's used the PeakDesign system: any comments (good or bad)?
Anyone who's used other systems to solve (or fail to solve) a similar set of needs: any other comments?

Many thanks to the DBT (Dyxum Brain Trust)!


Edited by Steve-S - 18 October 2022 at 17:36
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addy landzaat View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote addy landzaat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 October 2022 at 21:12
Never used Peak Design. For a similar problem I went with F-stop offerings. The Tilopa (50L) for big and the Guru UL (25L) for smaller loads like carry on.

It looks like the Peak Design has a quick side access, the F-Stops do not. I doubt a quick access is that useful on a 45L backpack, let alone a 60L.

If you do not need a quick side entry, you might also take a look at the Shimado offerings (https://shimodadesigns.com). It seems a lot of Youtube landscape photographers use one of those.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote waldo_posth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 October 2022 at 23:10
Another user of F-stop bags: Guru (25L) and Lotus (32L). I have three inserts of different sizes. I chose the Lotus for its very comfortable pelvic restraint belt - very helpful for hiking. The Guru is my everyday camera bag.

Looking at the Peak Design offerings at their website I was a bit disappointed. On top of my check list would be comfort during a longer hike (10 km+). This wouldn't make Peak Design my first choice.

BTW: Your list of gear is quite challenging for a hike in terms of weight!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Steve-S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 October 2022 at 01:25
Thank you!

I was pretty sure I recalled multiple makers, not just PD; but my initial Google didn't hit any others on the 1st page of results!

F-Stop & Shimoda both look excellent, however!

Originally posted by addy landzaat addy landzaat wrote:

... It looks like the Peak Design has a quick side access, the F-Stops do not. I doubt a quick access is that useful on a 45L backpack, let alone a 60L.

PD's main access is through the back of the bag, a long duffel-zip style access. Stowing stuff such that you can get in without fully-removing the pack and setting it down is a worthwhile addition!

Originally posted by addy landzaat addy landzaat wrote:

If you do not need a quick side entry, you might also take a look at the Shimado offerings (https://shimodadesigns.com). It seems a lot of Youtube landscape photographers use one of those.

Don't need side-entry if they offer other access without a full remove!

I am intrigued by Shimoda's alternative shoulder-strap designs. I'm liking the one with extra padding & the extra-large "vest pockets."


Originally posted by waldo_posth waldo_posth wrote:

Another user of F-stop bags: Guru (25L) and Lotus (32L). I have three inserts of different sizes. I chose the Lotus for its very comfortable pelvic restraint belt - very helpful for hiking. The Guru is my everyday camera bag.

I am a bit dubious that the 32L will carry my full (photo) gear-list plus needed (human) gear-list (food, water, etc) for (for example) a weekend. Presumably the larger packs' belts are (at least) as well-engineered!


Originally posted by waldo_posth waldo_posth wrote:

Looking at the Peak Design offerings at their website I was a bit disappointed. On top of my check list would be comfort during a longer hike (10 km+). This wouldn't make Peak Design my first choice.

It's better than a lot of "non-hiking" camera-bags, but it's true: those swiveling hip- & shoulder-belts don't look the most supportive & comfortable, despite their padding.


Originally posted by waldo_posth waldo_posth wrote:

BTW: Your list of gear is quite challenging for a hike in terms of weight!

Except for the 135ZA & 180mcro, they're all lighter-weight vari-aperture zooms, no F/2.8 constant! So that helps. But yes, one of my objectives is to be able to schlep a big load to a basecamp location, then daytrip more nimbly from there with less gear.

I definitely lost a *LOT* of conditioning during lockdown, but I used to carry a 90-lb / 40kg pack. I've always had unusually strong legs for my size (I will forever cherish the astonished look on the burly 12th-grader's face when scrawny 11-year-old me sat down on the gym leg-press he had just vacated, and started doing his same 600-lb reps. :-)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote LAbernethy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 October 2022 at 01:34
About this time last year, I took a trip down the camera bag rabbit hole to the conclusion: NOTHING FITS. Now on the upside with all these different bags with different size dividers I can usually customize what I need. Peak Design makes some good products but passed on the cubes. The packing and unpacking would drive me crazy, fine for storage and transport. My current "Go To" bag is a little Lowepro Flipside 200 AW II, my air travel carry-on bag is a Vanguard VEO Select 49.


Edited by LAbernethy - 18 October 2022 at 02:12
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Steve-S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 October 2022 at 05:29
One thing I really like about the PD gear, though: they put a Lifetime Warranty on it!
(Shimoda is 5Y, F-Stop only 3Y (edit: I see F-Stop's new "Dura-Diamond" line has a 20Y warranty... good enough for me!)

But the PD gear really looks like "Luggage Plus" (the "plus" being that it has some backpacking features)... sealed-up tight, it shows no signs of being backpacking gear at all.

Originally posted by waldo_posth waldo_posth wrote:

Looking at the Peak Design offerings at their website I was a bit disappointed. On top of my check list would be comfort during a longer hike (10 km+). This wouldn't make Peak Design my first choice.
Yes; this was my conclusion, too.

It seems to be really good for what it is -- if you want "backpacking" features instead of "wheelie/roller" features, to move your camera-luggage longer distances (like walking from a distant parking-lot to an airport terminal, or a mile down the road from a train station to a bus stop, etc).

It just looks to compromise on the backpack functionality & trail-comfort a bit too much, to hit that sleek "Luggage" convenience feature-set.


Edited by Steve-S - 18 October 2022 at 17:43
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Steve-S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 October 2022 at 06:50
Originally posted by addy landzaat addy landzaat wrote:

... For a similar problem I went with F-stop offerings...

Originally posted by waldo_posth waldo_posth wrote:

Another user of F-stop bags...

Which of the F-stop ICU's are you folks using?

And the obvious followup question: what's the gear loadout & config in your maximum-carry situation?

I'm currently looking at the Slope Medium + the Pro-Lg (or maybe the Pro-XL).
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Post Options Post Options   Quote waldo_posth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 October 2022 at 14:00
My ICUs are Pro-Large, Slope-Medium and Small-Shallow. I have the Pro-Large usually in my Lotus (32L - it fits it exactly, not much room left for other things) and the Slope-Medium in my Guru (25L - there is still room on top of it).

Lotus 32L with Pro-Large ICU (weight as shown 9600g)


Left column (from bottom to top): Sony LA-EA5 adapter, Tamron 70-180mm F/2.8, CZ Loxia 25mm F/2.4
Middle column (from bottom to top): Sony A7RM4 with Smallrig L-bracket and Tamron 28-200m F/2.8-5.6, Sony CZ 135mm F/1.8 ZA
Right column (from bottom to top): Sigma Contemporary 100-400mm F/5-6.3 SA with TC-1401 and MC-11 adapter (total length 26cm), Voigtlander Super-Wide Heliar 12mm F/5.6


Guru 25L with Slope-Medium ICU (weight as shown 6000g)


Left column (from bottom to top): Voigtlander Super-Wide Heliar 12mm F/5.6, TTARtisan 50mm F/1.4, Sony CZ 16-35mm F/4
Middle column (from bottom to top): Sony A7RM4 with Smallrig L-bracket and Tamron 28-200m F/2.8-5.6, CZ Loxia 25mm F/2.4
Right column (from bottom to top): Minolta AF Reflex 500mm F/8, Sony LA-EA5 + air-bomb

I used a balance for weighing bicycles - so those numbers are not exact.
I hope that helps. I have to prepare for a 3-month journey with lots of hiking starting mid-November. So I had a good reason to check this out!

Edited by waldo_posth - 18 October 2022 at 14:03
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Hezu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 October 2022 at 14:31
Originally posted by Steve-S Steve-S wrote:

Which of the F-stop ICU's are you folks using?
For my F-Stop Tilopa BC I have used mainly Pro XL ICU, anything smaller doesn't seem to be large enough to hold my largest lenses (these days Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS) while mounted on a camera. I do have also sloped M ICU, but I have used it inside the bag only few times since I rarely have wanted to use that backpack and carry only a small amount of gear.
Originally posted by Steve-S Steve-S wrote:

And the obvious followup question: what's the gear loadout & config in your maximum-carry situation?

I'm currently looking at the Slope Medium + the Pro-Lg (or maybe the Pro-XL).
For XL ICU my set up has been rougly this: the camera with the big lens in the center, the other cameras (α7R III/IV) with smaller zooms and extra lenses (usually nothing larger than Sony FE 2.8/90 Macro G OSS) on sides. But sadly, often this ICU still feels bit cramped and therefor I do often use my Gura Gear Bataflae 32L to haul my gear. It has spacious camera sections, but unfortunately its main flaw is that there is limited space for other gear outside the main camera compartment. Also the side pockets in my copy have already seen too much use and the mesh fabric is torn. But at times I have also thought that F-Stop Tilopa BC has tad too little space outside the ICU, therefor I recently took my chance with yet another camera backpack and got a brand new refreshed Nya-Evo Fjord 60-C (from a Kickstarter campaign). This new bag arrived just last Friday, so my experiences are still rather limited. But initial impression is fairly good: there is indeed little more space outside the camera compartment, especially as there is a separate rolltop compartment. The large RCI in the camera compartment is little smaller than F-Stop's XL ICU, but I think it can hold sufficient amount of gear, although I admit I haven't yet had enough time to play the jiggsaw puzzle game of setting up dividers to get the most optimal configuration. One feature I like is the RCIs in Nya-Evo bags can be inserted from the rear rather than from the top as it is with F-Stop ICUs.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Steve-S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 October 2022 at 17:12
Originally posted by waldo_posth waldo_posth wrote:

I used a balance for weighing bicycles - so those numbers are not exact.
I hope that helps. I have to prepare for a 3-month journey with lots of hiking starting mid-November. So I had a good reason to check this out!

It does help, yes! The cm's note on the 100-400+TC+MC11 is great, as I can measure my own 200-500 for comparison.

Precise weights are never something I cared to pursue... If you're already in the multi-kilograms, a few grams here or there are, to me, imperceptible. Or pounds & ounces.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Steve-S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 October 2022 at 17:26
Originally posted by Hezu Hezu wrote:

For my F-Stop Tilopa BC I have used mainly Pro XL ICU, anything smaller doesn't seem to be large enough to hold my largest lenses (these days Sony FE 5.6-6.3/200-600 G OSS) while mounted on a camera. I do have also sloped M ICU, but I have used it inside the bag only few times since I rarely have wanted to use that backpack and carry only a small amount of gear
...
For XL ICU my set up has been rougly this: the camera with the big lens in the center, the other cameras (α7R III/IV) with smaller zooms and extra lenses (usually nothing larger than Sony FE 2.8/90 Macro G OSS) on sides. But sadly, often this ICU still feels bit cramped
...
But at times I have also thought that F-Stop Tilopa BC has tad too little space outside the ICU, therefor I recently took my chance with yet another camera backpack and got a brand new refreshed Nya-Evo Fjord 60-C (from a Kickstarter campaign). This new bag arrived just last Friday, so my experiences are still rather limited. But initial impression is fairly good: there is indeed little more space outside the camera compartment
...


Hmm.
TYVM!

I'm thinking that if I go with the F-Stop, I want a pack large enough that I can put both ICU's in -- the Slope-M & either the L or XL Pro's. Or just one, of course -- when I want or need to carry more other-gear & less camera-gear
<ponders>
I mean... I guess that could happen??!?

But for both ICU's, I guess I need to step up to either the Sukha 70L or the Shinn 80L (will likely contact their support people to dial this in).


Edited by Steve-S - 18 October 2022 at 17:40
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Steve-S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 October 2022 at 02:28
Welp, I bought!

FYI, everything(*) fit into f-stop's Pro-Large ICU.
So I got that, and the Tilopa pack.

Not all that much extra room in the pack, but my next few months' trips will be by car & plane, and occasional dayhikes. I won't need an expedition-pack until next spring/summer/fall.

Also, I had previously bought a (non-camera) wheelie-pack from REI, for books & papers & some other hobbies. It turns out, the Pro-L ICU fits that wheelie like it was custom-made for it! So, a VERY nice bonus, there!


(*) the 135Z didn't fit with the hood. But, there's a few bits of extra space in the ICU. I need to try some re-arrangements to see if I can collect the extra space into the area around the 135, and fit the hood (reversed) into that extra space.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote waldo_posth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 October 2022 at 22:41
Congrats - I think you made a good choice!

One way to save space would be to use the 135mm's hood as a container for a smaller lens. Or you leave it at home and opt for a collapsable hood like this one.

One last remark: I really enjoy using the Peak Design Camera Clip (/w Pro Pad: lighter gear on the backpack's shoulder strap, heavier stuff on the belt) while hiking.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Steve-S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 October 2022 at 23:13
Originally posted by waldo_posth waldo_posth wrote:

... One way to save space would be to use the 135mm's hood as a container for a smaller lens.


Reversing the hood kinda is that, though -- it fits 'round the 135. Adds girth, not length.

But I should consider the idea of reversing it around any of my lenses, really... even the 200-500 (which, as the ICU is currently config'ed, is mounted on the camera).

Thanks, this is a good insight!


Originally posted by waldo_posth waldo_posth wrote:

last remark: I really enjoy using the Peak Design Camera Clip (/w Pro Pad: lighter gear on the backpack's shoulder strap, heavier stuff on the belt) while hiking.


I think I will be looking into a "holster" style carrier, for having quick access to camera+lens. f-stop sells a holster, as do many others. Looks like its own whole rabbit-hole, truthfully...


But the bare cam+lens mounted onto something like the PD "Camera Clip" is too exposed for my taste... I tripped this summer (just passed) in the Sierra Nevada, busted $1000 of gear (insured, so only $250 deductible out of pocket... but still).
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